“We were championship defense level.” Those words came from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after the Packers posted their first defensive shutout since 2010. However, Rodgers was also quoted in saying the Packers were “a non-playoff team level on offense.” Based on those comments, one would think the Packers barely won. Instead, they Packers dominated the Bills, winning 22-0.
The Packers defense kept the pressure of rookie quarterback Josh Allen all day long. Allen was seven times Sunday afternoon, three of those by linebacker Kyler Fackrell. Last week against the Minnesota Vikings, Allen was able to scramble for 39 yards, highlighted by his hurdle over Anthony Barr. This week was a much different story. The Packers were able to keep Allen from running around, and when he did, he was often met by a host of defenders. Clay Matthews even contributed to the sack total without being penalized.
The defensive pressure not only kept Allen behind the line of scrimmage, it forced him into some awful decisions. On one of the few successful Bills drives, Allen had led the Bills down to the Packers 20 yard line. On third down, pressure forced Allen to roll to his right, where he made the mistake of throwing the ball back across his body near the end zone. Jaire Alexander played the role of center fielder, camping under the ball and recording his first NFL interception. Later in the game, Allen tried to force a ball to Kelvin Benjamin, but was picked off by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. In total, the Packers only allowed 145 yards to a team that put up 27 points on the Vikings. Rodgers was right. This was a championship level the Packers defense showed on Sunday.
Offensively, the Packers did manage over 400 total yards. Rodgers threw for 298 yards and one touchdown, while also throwing an interception on a tipped pass. Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison had 81 and 80 receiving yards respectively, while Jimmy Graham caught his first touchdown as a member of the green and gold.
In his second week back from a two game suspension, Aaron Jones gave a much needed boost to the Packers running game. Jones finished with 11 carries for a game high 65 yards and one touchdown. Whenever the ball was in Jones’ hands, there was a feel that good things were about to happen. For the most part, that was the case.
Even with the productive day numbers-wise, Rodgers felt like the Packers left a little on the table. Rodgers missed some throws that he normally makes. The Packers receiving corps had some drops on balls that are usually caught. In the kicking game, Mason Crosby missed an extra point, but did nail two 52 yard field goals.
After four weeks, the Packers sit at 2-1-1, currently a half game behind the Chicago Bears in the NFC North. While they easily could be 1-3, the Packers could also be sitting at 3-1. Next week, the Packers travel to Detroit to face a Lions team who defeated the New England Patriots, but this week fell to the Dallas Cowboys and sit at 1-3.
The Packers have that game against the Lions, and a Monday night home game versus the San Francisco 49ers before they head into their bye week. If the Packers were to win their next two games, it would give them a nice 4-1-1 record before a brutal stretch of games that includes road games against the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, the Patriots, and the Vikings. That stretch of games is why the Packers must capitalize on these next two opponents. After the bye, the Packers will find out if they truly are contenders, or if they are just hopeful for another epic run by Aaron Rodgers.